by Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh
This review was composed under strange conditions. I was flat broke; a reader sent me a copy of the game and said he’d pay to see my take on the game. Then after the review went up, I think four out of five responses were objections over the fishing example. Hmm.
I’ve stopped playing World of Warcraft. Actually, I stopped a few weeks ago; I only turned the game on twice in the last few days, to buy that orange tabby that I couldn’t name and to see if I had reason to pay money I didn’t have for another month of forgetting the game was installed on my hard drive and downloading a hundred megs of patches whenever I chanced to start it up.
Until I got to level twenty, I enjoyed the game. I wandered around, I improved my skinning and my leatherworking. Maybe those weren’t the best choices for a mage, since I couldn’t wear leather. Why be tidy, though.
It started out well enough. I found a nice role-playing server, where I presumed I would have less bullshit to put up with since everyone would be concerned with etiquette. The Internet is backwards that way. Give a real person a fake identity and he’ll use that as an excuse to go wild. Get into strip clubs preternaturally. Rent videos with no intention to return them. Speak in tongues, go to ren fairs, and wear fursuits. It’s a trap door from the monotony and the conformity of the suburban right-wing hate media spewing public school adolescence we all carry into our thirties.
Give an Internet person an identity, it becomes an anchor. It’s fake, and you know it’s fake. Deep down they know it too. It’s one of those lies you live with, comfortable lies, to grease the gears and keep the project moving. You all know you’re there to escape, so why rock the boat. Let’s pretend, they say. Don’t remind me of my real life. And it’s fair enough. We all have our problems. We all need to be someone, even a fake someone. The role-players are harmless and a little sad. They want to play the game right, and that sounds good to me. Let’s do it, I figure.